Pursuing perfection is the enemy to pressing publish.
Yes indeed, there are some who pursue perfection and do an impeccable job. I look at them with admiration. Pursuing perfection is an excuse for me to continuing to procrastinate. I suspect I’m not alone in this. The goal, then, is to try to make life easy for me to finish the article and remove reason to procrastinate.
Here are three tips (hacks if you would) that help me finish writing an article and combat procrastination.
1 – Prep the Page
I learned this tip from online writing guru Nicolas Cole.
Starting at a blank page is daunting – the brain simply refuses to cooperate. Cole suggests that the writer “prep the page” with the subheadings they are going to write about.
For example, for this article about three writing tips, here is a screenshot of my prepped page.
After having prepped my page, all I had to do is fill in the content of each section.
Much better than having to worry about “what should the article contain”.
2 – Choose the Image at the Outset
Choosing an appropriate image to go with your article can be a rabbit hole.
I have several articles left half-way because I can’t come up with a good image. And searching for a good image may mean going through pages on Unsplash.com or pexels.com and spending a good half hour without coming up with an image.
At this stage, I have decided that my goal is to pick *any* appropriate image, and not spend hours on an wild goose image hunt. Consequently, I try to further prep the article by choosing an image first. After this, I just have to write the article, edit it, and press publish.
Here is my page after I add the image and the image credit.
3 – Leverage External Motivations
Writing online made recognize something alarming: My internal motivation levels are low.
Forewarned, however, is forearmed.
When it came to challenges and competitions, I brought my A-game to the table (in terms of quantity). After that, I would plateau down and stop publishing for long periods.
Having made this observation, I decided to participate every time there was an os.me challenge and participated in the Workshops Medha Shri spearheaded. Nancy Blackman organized a 30-day challenge for her publication Refresh the Soul in Medium. I participated.
When members of the os.me writers WhatsApp group decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, I decided to craft a custom NaNoWriMo challenge to hep me write more.
In short, I was looking for any and every excuse to write.
Ideally, I should write for its own sake. In the absence of that internal compass, I look to leverage external motivations to help me write more.
The mind is constantly looking for reasons to procrastinate.
I’ve listed some ways by which I tackle procrastination. I help my mind help me, a la Jerry Maguire. These may not work for you, but you can craft your own tips to help you write more.
I’d love to know what they are.
In the latest writing workshop, Medha Shri gave the participants a writing prompt – what are three takeaways they left from the workshop. For people who did not participate in the workshop, Medha Shri gave a different prompt: “3 Tips that Changed My Writing Game”. This article is based on this writing prompt.
Image Credit: Lucas Blazek from Unsplash